Editor: Reading the article about how Banff Mineral Springs Hospital will not fulfill patients’ request for MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) is starting a conversation that needs to be openly discussed between all of us, patients, providers, and citizens alike.
While Rocky Mountain Outlook has reported that no one has asked for MAID, this doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen in the future.
When some people who are starting to need constant medical care go into a facility (faith-based or public) they may not be thinking about MAID. At the time MAID is thought about, these patients are needing extra assistance and care because their function and quality of life has decreased.
This is where the gap between resources and services happens, most likely causing unnecessary stress for all involved.
Transfers out of faith-based facilities may work for few patients who are closer to large urban healthcare centres. When we hear transfers, we often forget that these people are already needing extensive medical care, proper accessibility, and in extraordinary pain. A transfer from Banff to Canmore, to Calgary may be medically not an option and a traumatic experience to anyone in this state. Not to mention the time it takes for someone to be transferred.
Providers who will fulfill MAID will not come to Banff/Canmore. At this time, it doesn’t happen.
MAID may not be a choice that you would make, but for other critically ill people, it may be. Protocol needs to be adhered to and supports need to be in place for all of us – provider, patient and family going through this process – whether residing in Banff or Canmore.
Why? This isn’t a matter of hoping no one asks, it’s a matter of when. And when a patient cannot be transferred for this procedure, we are denying them their wish to die with dignity.
My own perspective on this topic is that MAID does not do harm to the patient; it is the judgment providers project on a patient is what does harm. What I am saying is that in order to be compassionate we have to be objective. This is why PFCC, Patient and Family Centred Care exists; to ensure people’s values can be respected and included in all aspects of one’s experience in our health care system.
No one knows when the trauma of living becomes unbearable. What I’m asking for people and health care providers to do is face patients with compassion, expertise, objectivity and with logistics in mind. To treat those who request MAID with dignity. It is time we stop judging what suffering is to another.